The Chinese wok; one of the most creative creations in cookware is a staple in chinese cooking, yet used in all of East and Southeast Asia with all its multi-faceted gloriousness. In Indonesia the wok is known as a penggorengan or wajan. In Malaysia it is called a kuali (small wok) or kawa (big wok). In the Phillipines, it is known as a kawali and also called a “wadjang”. In Japan the wok is called a chukanabe (literally, “Chinese pot”). In India, two varieties of the wok exist: a “cheena chatti” and a “karahi“.
The bottom of the wok is small so it can use minimal fuel and heat quickly. Its curved shape directs the heat upwards to the larger cooking area. The first woks were pottery, but the improved conductivity of carbon steel and cast iron is what’s used to manufacture them.
Woks can easily be used for stir-fry, deep-fry, steaming and boiling, and there are many kitchen items created for it. A round bamboo steamer, for example, is made specifically to fit into the curved shape of the wok, and multiple tiers expand the wok’s cooking area UPWARD, not outward! INGENIOUS!
So if you haven’t yet, invest in a wok and try these recipes and see which ones “wok” your boat (tee-hee).